Musandam Trip

Standing at the tip of the Oman Peninsula, the scene was petrifying: breeze lingered warmly; wave merrily slapped rocky cliff along the picturesque coastline; jewel blue sea extended infinitely to unite with the sky. Took a long, deep breath, slowly inebriated into the unrivaled natural wonder.

We exited from Sha’am border in the morning, near the northern part of UAE. Friendly emigration officers quickly finished the formalities and let us on our way. The drive towards Musandam was incredulous: two line road meandered along the coastline. I extended my leg out from my left door, I could step right into the sky blue sea; I stretched my hand from the right window, I could touch the sun baked cliff.

When the road reached the tip of the peninsula, it curved back into the Khasab mountains. That was where we adventured to an off road, sea side, mobile tower. We were standing at the very tip of Oman. Then we advanced slowly towards Khasab city. A small roundabout and twenty or so two storey buildings surrounding it formed the town center. Because we came off season, less a few hurried tourists and strayed sheep, the city was only for us.

Finished a quick “city tour”, we found a local tourism agent and purchased a seat for cruising. At 1:45pm, we departed Khasab port on a traditional wooden dhow to explore the Oman Fjord. Canvas has been extended flat over the mast to provide shade .  The open deck can accommodate about 10 people in its Arabic carpet setting. There is a small common washroom at the back. A middle aged Omani and his son manned the Dhow. Both of them have a perfect tanned skin, yet with an easy smile and an enthusiastic eye.

Standing on solid ground appreciating sea is one thing, sitting on a rolling ship is definitely another. We were embraced by a stunning blue ocean – no where to run. It was borderless, ever calm, ever accommodating; it ravished me. It was like a giant canvas, jewel blue. Small boats shuttled in between, artistically left behind a white stroke. Then suddenly a flock of birds came alive and strode over – It was spellbinding. The blue of the sea seamlessly stitched with that of the sky, inviting brave spirits to explore beyond the horizon.

The sea was so clear that we could easily see the seabed. White sandy streak curved like a maze between darker rocky shade. Schools of colorful fish shuttled besides us then whisked away. Once in a while a dark blue small fish, adeptly jump on the water, for many rounds in a row before finally dived in the sea.  While we were intoxicated by the heavenly yet lively nature, the elder Omani whistled to catch our attention – our first escort. Bluish grey color, yet very playful and entertaining. They swam besides us, jumps out from time to time. Then they submerged and reappeared on the other side. I could see their blinking eyes – they were curious observing us as we were doing the same! As we approach the Fjord, water turned from sapphire blue to emerald green.

The open deck not only gave a cool breeze to drive off heat wave but also gave us a breathtaking panoramic view of the Fjord. Grotesque stone mansion stood around us. A flock of local black bird nested near the eroded foothill, standing tall to dry away a day’s weariness. A few cracks graved deep between the rocks, hiding a unknown treasure. A few of fishing villages scattered along the abysmal Fjord. There were even individual shacks build besides the cliffs. An image of an mysterious pirate den appeared before me: who would be staying there? Then we reached a small crest bay, the shade made it a perfect spot for snorkeling. I was so eager to try them out! Phoooon! The elder Omani thrust into the water! To tell the truth, I was a bit scared: what is waiting under the water? Eagerly putting my gears up, I climbed down into water.

It was amazing. The coral reef looked so beautiful. A blue big fish slowly swam ahead of me. I swiftly pushed my new rocked fin to catch it. It abruptly turned and swam away. Then there were lot of yellow and red small fishes. They shuttled in between the holes of the coral reef. Many of the reef were formed on dead shellfish. Then there were porcupine type of spiky ball rolled on the floor. We were warned not to touch it. I made many attempt to lift up a white shellfish but no avail. It glued itself firmly to the reef. That was my first snorkeling experience. I really enjoyed the extra freedom I got from the swim gear. I felt I was a huge fish! I wished I could swim there all day.

Sun was setting. And it was about time for us to leave. A dolphin family bid us farewell on our way out from the Fjord. The black sheep was still adapting to its city life on the side of the road. The mountain stood silently to welcome another group of tourists. We were talking endlessly about our excitement. Before we crossed border, we had stopped at beach for the sunset.

Except a group of curious sea crabs who were busying digging its nest, the spotless beach was all ours. Slowly walking on the soft, white beach, our foot trails were quickly washed away. Sea waves tapped gently on our feet, making the sand even more soothing. Sun then looked like a giant fireball. It lit up sparkling passage on the sea, seems to invite to its torched kingdom. It was heartily relaxing and inspiring.

I felt peaceful yet passionate. I felt closer to myself. I lift up a stone. Holding it tight in my fists, I closed my eye. I made three wishes. Then I threw my wish stone far into the sea – It is a promise I have sealed. Then we laughed, shouted and waved goodbye.

As we drove away from our Wish Beach, I realized something.


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